I have a school visit coming up in a couple of weeks and I have been informed that some of the parents have concerns over the content of The Thornthwaite series and The Considine Curse. (Weirdly, Death or Ice Cream? has not been mentioned.) The teacher has asked that I send a brief sentence or two outlining the content of my talks.
As anyone who has attended my events will understand, the content of my talks can be hard to predict so this is the reply I’ve gone with.
As a children’s author of eleven years, an awful lot of work has gone into my 36 books and the hundreds of school and festival appearances. I perform original songs written about the picture books, the adventure series and the novels for older children. Some of the books for advanced readers tackle more serious subjects but, as I think anyone who reads the books will see, always with a lightness of touch and sensitivity appropriate to the age of my readership. My school sessions are interactive, educational and child-led, so the pupils and teachers themselves decide which aspects of my job we talk about. Over the course of an hour this is likely to include topics such writing, reading, idea-generating, redrafting, jokes, Ninja Meerkats, dinosaurs, aliens, pets, pirates and death. Every one of these topics is tackled in a way that is appropriate to the age of the audience. I am happy to answer any questions or concerns about my approach to my job as a children’s author as it is something I think about a lot. This is not the first time this sort of concern has been raised before an event but I am delighted to report that I have never received a complaint after one.